temporary stabilizing toddler's decayed rotten teeth

When Bee was around 19 months, one day I noticed there were holes on her 2 front baby teeth.  Within 2 days, the top part of both of the teeth broke in half.  I freaked out and we bought her into see a pediatric dentist.  She wouldn't open her mouth so the dentist couldn't do anything.  He sent us home with a brush and toothpaste.  He told us to come back when she's 2 year old.

I can't wait until she's 2, I can't wait for the cavity eat up all of the teeth, all of what's left.  I did what I know to do at such time like this, I googled "baby with cavity" !  and that's the start of me reading countless articles, mommy's posts, blogs, etc.  I was online days and nights, searching for a way to stop the bacterial from partying hard on my daughter's teeth, eating them away !!! 

With my "dentist" hat on,  I spent the next few days examining Bee's teeth :-)  After all, I'm the only one whom she would allow to see what's going on in her mouth.  After checking her teeth, I suspected that she has dental caries (tooth decay).  We do brush her teeth but only morning and night.  During the day, when she eats the most, we forgot to brush her.  All the crackers, milk (no juice), and sugar she consumed in the day coated her baby teeth and caused them to rot - my own conclusion !

Most of the sweets we consume in our house are made with organic sugar, and we don't drink juices/pop so I can only imagine how bad her teeth would be if we eat food and drink juices loaded with refined sugar from the "ose" family, like fructose, glucose, maltose, or sucrose ! 

My poor baby has rotten teeth at just barely over 1 year old.  I cried.  Hubby and I feel so bad, so guilty, so ashamed to let such thing happened to our baby.  We're bad parents :(  Our dentist consoled us, and told us this might be genetic, and perhaps lack of calcium from me (since she's exclusively breastfed) caused her teeth to be weak.  It doesn't matter !  what mattered now is that she has a decay and we need to stop it FAST !

During my "research",  I came across fluoride (controversial subject), and I'm on the fence on this topic.

Some stuff I read on fluoride:

“Dental or enamel fluorosis occurs when excess amounts of fluoride are ingested during tooth development (1-8 years of age). It is characterized by increased porosity (or hypomineralization) of the subsurface enamel and well mineralized surface layer of enamel. Mildly fluorosed enamel is fully functional, but may be cosmetically objectionable. As the severity of dental fluorosis increases, the depth of the enamel involvement and the degree of porosity increases. More severely fluorosed enamel is more porous, pitted, and discolored and is prone to fracture and wear because the well mineralized zone is very fragile to mechanical stress.”

SOURCE: Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry [ATSDR]. (2003). Toxicological profile for Fluorides, Hydrogen Fluoride, and Fluorine. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service.

“Any use of fluorides, whether systemic or topical, in caries prevention and treatment in children results in ingestion and absorption of fluoride into the blood circulation. The mineralization of teeth under formation may be affected so that dental fluorosis may occur. Dental fluorosis reflects an increasing porosity of the surface and subsurface enamel, causing the enamel to appear opaque. The clinical features represent a continuum of changes ranging from fine white opaque lines running across the tooth on all parts of the enamel to entirely chalky white teeth. In the latter cases, the enamel may be so porous (or hypomineralized) that the outer enamel breaks apart posteruptively and the exposed porous subsurface enamel becomes discolored.”

SOURCE: Fejerskov O, et al. (1990). The nature and mechanisms of dental fluorosis in man. Journal of Dental Research 69(Spec Iss): 692-700.

I'm not a dentist but what I do know is that my daughter's 2 front side teeth both broke apart and exposed the surface underneath that once white, now are light brown/yellowish color.  Upon reading more articles on fluoride, I decided to chuck away Bee's baby toothpaste with fluoride !  She's too young for toothpaste w/fluoride anyways.  Which makes me wonder, if flouride is good for kids, why can't they swallow the toothpaste ?  I understand the different between external use and ingesting it, but either way, the fluoride is in her mouth, she is ingesting some even if she did try to spit out.  After thinking back and forth, I decided to opt out of fluoride for Bee.  It's a risk I know, but we got little to loose now !  I mean, we're been brushing with fluoride and her teeth broke in half. 

I searched for natural toothpaste and came across Xylitol.  I talked over with Bee's pediatric about the use of Xylitol toothpaste(http://altmedicine.about.com/od/teethandmouthconditions/a/Xylitol-Toothpaste.htm) instead of the usual baby tooth paste.  She told me xylitol is good, and to give it a try.  So, with that confirmation, I thought we give xylitol a shot, and monitor her teeth to see if there's any improvement.

There's xylitol and there's "xylitol" !  there needs to be sufficient amount of it in the toothpaste to make a different.  It should be listed as the main ingredient, not way down on the list.  I noticed in many baby/kids' toothpastes, they contained xylitol AND sucrose or fructose !!!!  I supposed they want to make the toothpaste appealing to kids (taste good) ?  but what's the point of cavity prevention if the toothpaste is full with sugar ?  Hum....I did more digging around and settled on Spry mint xylitol toothpaste !  it's cheaper to buy from USA so I went to vitacost.com and order 5 boxes of these brand to be shipped to my mailbox in the states.

In the few weeks after I received my toothpaste packages, I religiously brush Bee's teeth with Spry, even though she hated the taste and said it's too spicy (minty" !!!).  By month 2, she's ok with it and doesn't mind it.  I also make her rinse with sea salt water at night.  I don't know the science behind it but I remember my grandma told me that's she does it every night, to clean her teeth.  I'm desperate to save Bee's teeth so if it's natural and isn't too crazy, I'll try it !!!

When we took Bee back to the pediatric at 24 months (5 months from the first visit), she was well prepared !!!  I think all the poking around at home by me and her daddy makes her quite comfortable with opening her mouth wide and let the dentist poke her with their explorer, to check her teeth. 

I was very anxious.  I pray so hard, hoping for some good news.  And good new it is !  the dentist told us the decay are not active, and that they are stabilized.  Yay !  but before we can do our celebratory dance, they found a cavity in one of her molar !?!?!?!  And it's active !!! oh man oh man !!!  Since Bee is too young to sit in a chair for a filling, they asked if we want to put her to sleep and get that fixed.  They said they do that kind of procedure all the time, there's no need to worry.  We thought about it and feel she's too young to under go general anesthesia.  We told them NO and that we rather just monitor it until she's old enough to sit still for a filling. 

That day we went home and decided to put all of us on a candy/chocolate/cracker diet !!!  The dentist showed us Bee's molars, how they have very jagged/ridged surface.  Crackers are her worse enemy because the crumbs get stuck on there and normal brushing won't get them all out.  It's best to avoid it. 

Here we go again with fighting yucky ugly bacteria !  Stay tuned for the next chapter of Toddler Cavity fighting !!!